Indian American Congressman Ro Khanna Named Finalist for Democracy Awards in ‘Constituent Service’ Category
The Congressional Management Foundation March 20 announced that U.S. Rep. Ro Khanna, a second-term Indian American Democrat representing the 17th Congressional District in California, is a finalist for the Democracy Awards.
The awards recognize non-legislative achievement in operations and constituent service by congressional offices and members of Congress, according to the foundation.
Khanna is recognized for excellence in the Constituent Service category, which focuses on how an office interacts with and serves constituents, especially how it utilizes and leverages specific, methodical, and consistent processes for achieving measurable results in constituent service, the release said.
“Casework and constituent services form the core of our work in Congress,” said Khanna in a statement. “Located where innovation, intellectual diversity and immigration converge, Silicon Valley rightly demands and deserves the highest caliber level of service our team strives to provide. I deeply congratulate my team for this well-deserved recognition and hard work.”
Foundation president and chief executive Bradford Fitch called Khanna one of the best in Congress.
“This designation demonstrates that Rep. Khanna has made a significant commitment to being the best public servant for his constituents in California. Rep. Khanna and his staff are to be congratulated for not only being a model for colleagues in Congress, but for helping to restore trust and faith that our democratic institutions can work,” Fitch said in a statement.
The office of Khanna was one of four congressional offices across both chambers of Congress to receive this honor.
Khanna’s office represents the only majority Asian district in the continental United States, and as a result manages an unusually high number of cases that fall into the general category of immigration.
These cases constitute over 80 percent of their constituent services work, and the constituents are often frightened and sometimes desperate. Personal interactions with constituents, therefore, play a significant role in their district, the foundation notes.
Due to the diverse origins of their constituents and the heavy immigration-related case load, the office places a premium on language ability in both their interns and permanent staffers.
To address these unique constituent needs, they have hired staffers with fluency in Hindi, Tagalog, Mandarin, Vietnamese, and Russian, among others, it said.
Finally, the office continually updates their "Wall of Fame," where emails of thanks from constituents are posted. They have received so many notes from appreciative constituents that they have now spread to a second Wall, the foundation added.
A committee comprised primarily of former members of Congress and former congressional staffers will select the two winners (one Democrat and one Republican) for each category, the foundation noted in the release.
Other categories for the awards included “Life in Congress” Workplace Environment, and Transparency, Accountability and Innovation.
Winners will be announced in May, and a ceremony to honor finalists and winners will be held on June 20.